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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director
Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Did Former Chief of Staff to Former First Lady MICHELLE OBAMA Get Smollet Off?
Jussie Smollett Charges Dropped, Actor Won't Be Prosecuted On Charges He FAKED Attack
Barnini Chakraborty, Tyler McCarthy Calling himself a man of faith “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett said Tuesday that he felt vindicated after the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office said it would drop all charges against him.
Smollett was accused of faking an anti-black, anti-gat hate crime in Chicago in order to drum up publicity for his role on the Fox drama.
Smollett, who posed with fans outside the courthouse, thanked his friends and family for standing by him.
“Not for a moment was it in vain. I’ve been truthful and consistent on every level since day one,” he said. “I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I was accused of. “
In a shocking announcement Tuesday morning, authorities said they will not prosecute Smollett.
Fox News has learned the judge granted a nolle pros, which essentially means that the case has been dropped and that he will no longer be prosecuted for the alleged crime.
It’s unclear at this time why the court decided not to proceed with prosecution, but the former “Empire” star is expected to give a statement after he leaves the courthouse later today.
Smollett previously pled "not guilty" to 16 counts of disorderly conduct stemming from the alleged incident in which he claimed two men beat him, poured bleach on him and placed a rope around his neck before yelling, "This is MAGA country." His lawyer, Tina Glandian, entered the plea on Smollett’s behalf just hours after Judge Steven Watkins was assigned the case. The next court date was scheduled for April 17.
"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett, center, when he arrived at Leighton Criminal Court Building on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, in Chicago.(AP Photo/Matt Marton)
However, Smollett was brought in for an emergency court session in which the judge ruled the case against him would be dropped.
Doubt was cast on the open-and-shut nature of the case when Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham wrote the Justice Department following reports that Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx asked Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson to let the FBI investigate Smollett's allegations that he was attacked by two masked men after the former chief of staff to former first lady Michelle Obama allegedly informed Foxx that Smollett's family had concerns about the probe.
According to local reports, Johnson was blindsided by Tuesday’s events and is expected to address the situation later in the day.
Smollett attorneys Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes said in a statement that Smollett's record "has been wiped clean."
Anne Kavanaugh, the crisis manager the actor hired, said Smollet is a “victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator as a result of false and inappropriate remarks made to the public causing an inappropriate rush to judgement.”
A rep for Fox, which produces and airs "Empire," said the studio and network had no immediate comment.
A spokeswoman for Cook County prosecutors didn't immediately respond to messages requesting comment.